It’s safe to say that the 2019-20 National Hockey League season has been a little weird. Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NHL is beginning to consider how precisely to get through the annual gamut of events that end one season and transition towards another.

With the NFL Draft kicking off today – live from the commissioner’s basement – here’s a quick snapshot of the various things that have to happen before the 2020-21 season begins.

The draft

Originally set for June 26 & 27 in scenic Montreal, the draft was one of the first things to shift when the season postponement happened. But lately there have been a lot of discussions regarding having a draft in June anyway – remotely, of course – just so that the scouting season can be capped off and it takes a big chunk of ever-shifting work off the table.

There are challenges with this, obviously: conditional picks, standings considerations, the awkwardness of having the draft potentially before the Stanley Cup playoffs among them. But if the idea is that the status of the 2019-20 season might not be super clear for awhile, the notion of getting the draft done does make a lot of sense.

The awards

A much more minor thing are the annual NHL Awards. The NHL awards event in Vegas – set for the week before the draft – was also postponed. There hasn’t been much discussion about this because balloting hasn’t been conducted yet. Presumably once we have clarity on the season’s status, voting will be done (or scheduled) and we’ll get a better idea for this. But let’s be honest: the PHWA can just put out a press release, because it’s unlikely we’ll have a traditional awards show.

The buyout window

The “ordinary course buy-out window” begins the later of June 15 or 48 hours after the end of the Stanley Cup Final and lasts until 5pm ET on June 30. Obviously this will change, and it’ll be likely shifted to reflect whenever free agency begins.

RFA qualifying offers

Qualifying offers for restricted free agents are due on 5pm ET on the later of June 25 or the Monday after the NHL Draft. Obviously, this will change. It’ll probably be shifted to be a few days from whenever unrestricted free agency begins.

The salary arbitration window

The annual arbitration window was originally set for late July/early August. If the season is going on, we won’t have arbitration hearings. Again, this probably shifts to be roughly a month following the beginning of free agency.

The courting period

The UFA courting period is usually from the second day of the NHL Draft until June 30, and allows NHL teams to woo pending UFAs. This probably shifts to span five or six days prior to whenever free agency begins.

Hockey Hall of Fame announcement

The Hockey Hall of Fame’s induction meeting is slated for June 24 in Toronto. It’s not tied to a particular NHL event, but it’s usually the Monday after the NHL Draft – in this case it was the Monday before due to the draft falling on the final weekend of the month. If the season hasn’t re-started, the Hall of Fame induction announcement would be a fun bit of happy news in a rather dire period.

CHL import draft

Again, the Import Draft isn’t tied to a particular event. But by convention it’s the week after the NHL Draft and allows CHL teams to vie for players, many of whom have just been drafted by NHL teams. It would make sense for this event to be after the draft, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be.